Land Development Regulations


Manatee County’s Land Use Regulations fall primarily within two main documents: 

  1. The Manatee County Comprehensive Plan, and

  2. The Manatee County Land Development Code.

Pursuant to Chapter 163, Part II of the Florida Statutes, the Comprehensive Plan contains the long range policy structure for the County. It contains Goals, Objectives, and Policies on land use, transportation, environmental protection, coastal protection, affordable housing, utility services, and historic preservation.

The Land Development Code is enacted pursuant to Section 163.3202 of the Florida Statutes and its purpose is to implement the Comprehensive Plan of the County by establishing regulations, procedures, and standards for review and approval of all development and use of land in the unincorporated portions of the County.



This is not a comprehensive list of all amendments. Please see Municode for a complete list of approved amendments. Below are some of the larger, recently approved amendments.


Ord. 20-06, Adopted Jan. 9, 2020
Res. 20-004, Adopted Jan. 9, 2020
Res. 20-016, Adopted Jan. 9, 2020

On July 1, 2019, the State of Florida passed House Bill 7103, modifying the allowable processing time for all planning applications that receive a development order. To maintain compliance with this law and to provide the best possible service to our customers, Manatee County has modified their development review processes to include an up-to-date Development Review Manual and an amendment to the LDC that is consistent with state statutes and easy to use for both staff and applicants.

2019 -- PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS -- Ordinance 19-03

The Board of County Commission and County staff has reviewed and revamped the entire development review process within the Comp Plan and the LDC with the intent of providing process improvements applicable Countywide. This will specifically ensure consistency between the LDC and Comp Plan, and it will create development standards to ensure development review is meaningful, consistent, and predictable for staff, the developer, and the citizens of Manatee County.

The Amendments are encompassed in Ordinance 19-03, which will go into effect on April 15, 2019.
Goals Considered During Review:

  1. Simplify the range of uses in each future land use category and rely more on  zoning and land use regulations in the LDC.
  2. Review existing density and intensity levels and determine whether they are in-line with the County’s vision for growth.
  3. Review and provide implementation mechanisms for the Mixed-Use Future Land Use Category and Clustering provisions in the Comp Plan.
  4. Provide a matrix of zoning districts intended to implement each future land use category.
  5. Review zoning districts to ensure there are district(s) that implement all future   land use categories.

Special Approval / Planned Development Processes. Review of the Comp Plan and LDC included:

  1. Review all provisions in the Comp Plan that require Special Approval and determine if they are still necessary.
  2. Establish a system that requires Board review and approval where warranted, but without the need to go through the Planned Development rezoning process.
  3. Review the LDC to determine if existing review criteria are adequate or if additional requirements are needed for all Special Approval and Planned Development triggers.

2015 -- LDC REWRITE Ordinance 15-17

In December of 2015, the Manatee County Land Development Code was amended to reorganize and better clarify the language and regulations of the 1989 LDC.

Staff Report- Land Development Code Update Phase 1

To assist you in the review of the prior (1989) Code verses the Amended and Restated (2015) Code, each individual chapter is provided in strike-thru/underline with comments as to why a particular section was changed.

Ordinance 15-17 Index

Please contact [email protected] or by phone at (941)-748-4501, ext. 6884 with any questions.


Pending Land Use Regulation Amendments

Manatee County has several pending amendments. If you are interested in viewing additional documentation related to current pending amendments, please complete the form below and staff will contact you directly to provide the documents. If you need assistance with accessibility, please contact Reviewer on Call.

Accessory Dwelling Units

For the past two years, Manatee County has been working on changes to the Land Development Code (LDC) to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in existing neighborhoods. An accessory dwelling unit is a separate living unit contained on a single-family lot that provides full kitchen and dining facilities for its occupants. It is one way that Manatee County can increase its affordable housing stock, but it does have its limitations.

This LDC text amendment is tentatively scheduled for presentation to the Board of County Commissioners at a Work Session on August 4, 2020. You may attend the work session to provide input, or may provide comments/concerns to [email protected]. After the work session, the amendment will be finalized, advertised and be heard at a future Planning Commission and Board of County Commission meeting, where additional public comment will be received before any action is taken. The below video has been provided to explain the proposed amendment.

Planning Staff is in favor of adopting Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) for several reasons. First, ADUs provide a means for Manatee County seniors to age “in place,” where they might be allowed to live in an ADU with relatives onsite. Homeowners will also have an increased ability to afford their own homes with the addition of rental income. Further, neighborhood density, introduced incrementally, can contribute to walkability and the economic vitality of surrounding businesses.

Sea Level Rise

Staff is currently working on preparing a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to address Sea Level Rise. Draft Sea Level Rise Goals, Objectives, and Policies will become part of the Coastal Element. All County Departments will participate in the development of these policies and the implementation tools required to minimize the negative impacts of sea level rise.

For questions concerning the above project, please email [email protected].


Land Use Regulations

Land Use Regulations

The Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Code, and Public Works Standards Manual are some of the resources used for researching regulations regarding land development in the unincorporated areas of Manatee County.

Land Use Approval Process

Development Review Manual

Comprehensive Plan

Code of Ordinances

Land Development Code

This Land Development Code is enacted pursuant to the requirements and authority of Section 163.3202, Fla. Stat. et seq. (the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act) and the general powers established in Chapter 125, Florida Statutes (County Government) and the Constitution of the State of Florida.

The purpose of this Land Development Code is to implement the Comprehensive Plan of the County by establishing regulations, procedures and standards for review and approval of all development and use of land in the unincorporated portions of the county. Further, this Land Development Code is adopted in order to foster and preserve public health, safety, comfort and welfare in the unincorporated areas of the County. It is the intent of this Code that the development process in Manatee County be efficient, in terms of time and expense, effective, in terms of addressing the natural resource and public facility implications of proposed development, and equitable, in terms of consistency with established regulations and procedures, respect for the rights of property owners, and the consideration of the interests of the citizens of the County.

Land Development Code Overlay Districts

Section 403 Overlay Districts are intended to supplement the regulations in the Land Development Code.

Land Development Code Entranceway Maps

There are seven entranceways into the Unincorporated Manatee County and Section 900 of the Code provides standards and criteria by which proposed development in the entranceway areas will be reviewed.

GIS Interactive Maps

The term "map service" is used to describe interactive maps available online. Our interactive map services are built on ArcGIS Server from ESRI. ArcGIS Server provides advantages such as faster browsing, better security, and more manageable development life cycles. Our ultimate goal is to provide you, the customer, with a faster, more intuitive map browsing experience. We recommend that you use either Firefox or Chrome as your browser when using these map services as this will provide you with the best overall browsing experience.

Wetlands and Wetland Buffers

As of February 27, 2017 the document formally known as "Conservation Easement" has been replaced with "Language for Wetlands and Wetland Buffers".


Zoning for Manatee County also falls underneath the LDC and Comprehensive Plan. Current zones can be found under Chapter 4: Zoning of the LDC. The Comprehensive Plan covers Element 2: Future Land Use.

Outdoor Lighting Regulations

Manatee County Land Development Code
Excerpts related to outdoor lighting

05-037 Section 806 Lighting